The Prim Perfidy of the Gray Lady

My second conclusion about the Wikileaks scandal?  That the New York Times has reached a new level on the smug-and-smarmy-hypocrisy-o-meter.  This seems obvious just as soon as you hear someone make the point.  But it took Scott Johnson, our friend at Powerline, to make the point–and so far as I can tell, Scott’s the only one to make it.  Read this slowly, taking it in.  And if you’re ever tempted to suppose that the mainstream media is merely silly, or callow, but essentially harmless, remember it:

The New York Times is participating in the dissemination of the stolen State Department cables that have been made available to it in one way or another via WikiLeaks. My friend Steve Hayward recalls that only last year the New York Times ostentatiously declined to publish or post any of the Climategate emails because they had been illegally obtained. Surely readers will recall Times reporter Andrew Revkin’s inspiring statement of principle: “The documents appear to have been acquired illegally and contain all manner of private information and statements that were never intended for the public eye, so they won’t be posted here.”

Interested readers may want to compare and contrast Revkin’s statement of principle with the editorial note posted by the Times on the WikiLeaks documents this afternoon. Today the Times cites the availability of the documents elsewhere and the pubic interest in their revelations as supporting their publication by the Times. Both factors applied in roughly equal measure to the Climategate emails.

  1. John Marzan

    Not only is the NYT hypocritical, but treasonous too.

  2. John Marzan

    I wonder what the Jornolisters think of this?

  3. Sisyphus

    Until there are real and harsh consequences for releasing these sorts of materials. Sadly, since it is not a case targeted and undermining democratic elections to meet the demands of identity politics, it is beyond the competency of our current Attorney General to prosecute. 707 days until the election.

    The Bush Administration was just as flaccid on this problem, so neither party is reliable on protecting classified information. Assange is a Bush/Obama joint disaster.

  4. Walrus

    i actually sat down and read some of the wikiileaks docs. There really wasn’t anything that surprising. I think wikileaks will have more of an impact in closed societies than in open ones like ours. The Saudis and the UAE are scrambling right now to downplay the extent of their cooperation with the US.

    The biggest scoop of the wikileaks dump is how poorly “secret” info is guarded.

  5. Matthew Gilley

     Thanks for pulling this forward, Peter.  I read this post yesterday and I’m glad to see it’s beginning to circulate.  Hopefully it gets some more attention.

  6. Xty

    I tried on the member feed yesterday morning! (Just going for pointless kudos.)  But I think there is more smoke than fire in these leaks.  I started to watch an interview with one of the smarmy leakers, and couldn’t bear his self-satisfied demeanor.  But why so much anticipation, and hinting about a big leak coming about a big bank.  If you have what you believe is crucial information shouldn’t you put it out there?  Why wait until some un-specified time in the new year unless you are just trying to build up your importance, knowing that the whole thing is actually a bit of a dud? 

  7. Paul A. Rahe
    C

    Peter, it is time to give up on The New York Times. Years ago, when it became company policy to call Angela Davis a “political activist,” it had already become clear that the paper should be renamed Pravda on the Hudson and that it was engaged in a disinformation campaign. With every passing year, the partisan — one might even say hard leftist — bias of its policy of news management has become ever more clear. Along the way, the paper’s circulation has dropped and its influence has declined. I doubt that, in its present form, it will be with us much longer. I do not find it shocking that it has covered the Wikileaks dump. What is shocking is its refusal to cover the scandal concerning the global-warming hoax. The appropriate posture for its critics should not now be disappointment; it should be hilarity. Pravda on the Hudson is almost as entertaining to read as MSNBC is to watch.

  8. George Savage

    I seem to recall that the Times also had a politically convenient conniption over the scandalous, reckless way national security was supposedly endangered by the “outing” of Valerie Plame as an “undercover” CIA agent.  If I didn’t know better, I’d almost think the Times had an ideological axe to grind.